RANGERS have not given up hope of winning the Championship but they do accept that they have to rely on Hearts slipping up as they seek to put an end to their own faltering form.
In the space of a week the hopes they had of leapfrogging Robbie Neilson’s side have not only been dashed, they have actually seen the gap between the sides grow to a sizeable nine points.
“It’s going to be difficult [to claw back that deficit],” said manager Ally McCoist, “but it’s not insurmountable. We firmly believe that not halfway into the season there is a long way to go. Hearts are playing well but we showed, particularly in the first half, that we are more than capable of closing that gap. Nine points is not ideal, far from it, but we have a firm belief we can do it. It’s not going to be easy but we still believe we can be champions come May.”
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
But Rangers left Edinburgh last night with their tails between their legs and destiny now firmly in Hearts’ hands. “It’s going to be tough,” said Ibrox striker Jon Daly. “It’s out of our hands now, we’ve got to play Hearts twice before the end of the season, but even if we were to win all of our games, including those, we still need them to drop points elsewhere. So it’s theirs to lose.
“But we need to not worry about Hearts and concentrate on ourselves. We’ve dropped points in games we shouldn’t have done and we can’t afford any more slip-ups now. We need to keep winning and hope they make a few mistakes.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS